1. What is the main legislation relating to trade union relations and collective bargaining in Russia?
Freedom of association is guaranteed by the RF Constitution: everyone has the right to association, including the right to establish trade unions in order to protect their interests. The Labor Code and Federal Law No. 10-FZ, "On Trade Unions, Their Rights and Guarantees for their Activity", dated January 12, 1996 constitute the principal legislation on trade unions and collective bargaining.
2. What types of trade unions may be established in Russia?
All employees have the right to establish trade unions. There are several types of trade unions:
- A primary trade union organization: a voluntary association of trade union members, working within the same employer.
- The all-Russia Trade Union.
- The all-Russia Association of the Trade Unions.
- An interregional trade union.
- An interregional association of trade union organizations.
- A territorial association of he trade union organizations: a voluntary association of the trade union organizations, operating within the territory of one RF region or in the territory of a city/district.
- A territorial trade union organization: a voluntary association of members of the primary trade union organizations of one and the same trade union, operating within the territory of one RF region, or in the territory of several RF regions, or in the territory of a city/district.
3. What rights do trade unions exercise?
Among others, trade unions are entitled to:
- Represent and protect the rights and legitimate interests of employees.
- Exercise control over maintaining a set of rules pertaining to labor and the fulfillment of the conditions of the collective bargaining or industrial agreements.
- Carry on collective negotiations, conclude collective agreements.
- Participate in the regulation of collective labor disputes.
- Propose and provide opinions on draft laws concerning the employment rights of individuals.
- Participate in developing state employment programs, participate in the consideration of their proposals by the state authorities.
- Propose measures for the social protection of trade union members.
4. In what circumstances is an employer obliged to consider the opinion of a trade union?
An employer is obliged to consider the opinion of a trade union in certain cases, namely:
- Staff redundancy.
- Dismissal of employees at the employer's initiative.
- Approval of internal regulation, etc.
In the absence of a trade union, the employer is not obliged to request its opinion regarding those matters where the Labor Code would otherwise require it.
5. Are employers obliged to conclude collective agreements?
It is not mandatory for employers to conclude collective agreements. The majority of employers do not conclude collective agreements.
Collective agreements (in Russian: коллективные соглашения) are concluded between representatives of the employers and employees at the federal, regional and territorial level, and at the level of a particular industry. A collective agreement within a particular industry can also be concluded at the federal, regional and territorial levels. Collective agreements may be entered into for a term up to 3 (three) years and extended by up to three more years but only once (Article 48 of the Labor Code).
Collective bargaining agreements (in Russian: коллективные договоры) are entered into at the level of a particular company (or its subdivision) or individual entrepreneur. The employer is not obliged to enter into a collective bargaining agreement; however, the employer is obliged to participate in negotiations to enter into this agreement (Article 36 of the Labor Code).
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